Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Detection of prion infection in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a blood-based assay

Detection of prion infection in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a blood-based assay

Julie Ann Edgeworth, Michael Farmer, Anita Sicilia, Paul Tavares, Jonathan Beck, Tracy Campbell, Jessica Lowe, Simon Mead, Peter Rudge, John Collinge, Graham S Jackson



Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder originating from exposure to bovine-spongiform-encephalopathy-like prions. Prion infections are associated with long and clinically silent incubations. The number of asymptomatic individuals with vCJD prion infection is unknown, posing risk to others via blood transfusion, blood products, organ or tissue grafts, and contaminated medical instruments. We aimed to establish the sensitivity and specifi city of a blood-based assay for detection of vCJD prion infection.


We developed a solid-state binding matrix to capture and concentrate disease-associated prion proteins and coupled this method to direct immunodetection of surface-bound material. Quantitative assay sensitivity was assessed with a serial dilution series of 10.. to 10.1. of vCJD prion-infected brain homogenate into whole human blood, with a baseline control of normal human brain homogenate in whole blood (10..). To establish the sensitivity and specifi city of the assay for detection of endogenous vCJD, we analysed a masked panel of 190 whole blood samples from 21 patients with vCJD, 27 with sporadic CJD, 42 with other neurological diseases, and 100 normal controls. Samples were masked and numbered by individuals independent of the assay and analysis. Each sample was tested twice in independent assay runs; only samples that were reactive in both runs were scored as positive overall.


We were able to distinguish a 10.1. dilution of exogenous vCJD prion-infected brain from a 10.. dilution of normal brain (mean chemiluminescent signal, 1E3~10. [SD 1E1~10.] for vCJD vs 9E9~10. [4E5~103] for normal brain; p<0E0001).an assay sensitivity that was orders of magnitude higher than any previously reported. 15 samples in the masked panel were scored as positive. All 15 samples were from patients with vCJD, showing an assay sensitivity for vCJD of 71E4% (95% CI 47E8.88E7) and a specifi city of 100% (95% CIs between 97E8% and 100%). Interpretation These initial studies provide a prototype blood test for diagnosis of vCJD in symptomatic individuals, which could allow development of large-scale screening tests for asymptomatic vCJD prion infection. Funding UK Medical Research Council.

see full text ;

World’s first blood test for vCJD developed in MRC lab

Thursday 3 February 2011

The world’s first accurate blood test for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) has been developed by Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists. The prototype, which is 100,000 times more sensitive than any previous attempt, could transform the diagnosis and screening of the brain disease.

Variant CJD, the human form of BSE (or mad cow disease) first emerged in 1995. The disease, which affects the brain, is believed to have passed from cattle to humans through infected food. It causes personality change, loss of body function, and eventually death.

The research team from the MRC Prion Unit, based at University College London, working with the National Prion Clinic at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) tested 190 blood samples, including 21 from individuals known to have vCJD. The blood test was able to detect blood spiked with a dilution of vCJD to within one part per ten billion - 100,000 times more sensitive than any other method developed so far.

Prions, the infectious proteins which cause vCJD and other fatal prion diseases, can inhabit a person’s body for up to 50 years before presenting symptoms. During this time there is a chance a carrier of vCJD infection could pass on the infection to others, for example through blood transfusion or even through surgical and medical instruments as prions can easily attach onto metal surfaces.

A widely available, accurate blood test would enable people to be diagnosed earlier and could also help identify carriers of the disease. This would help measure how widespread the prion infection is in the general population and identify those who are at risk of passing on the infection to others.

Lead author Dr Graham Jackson, Programme Leader at the MRC Prion Unit, said:

“This test comes at the end of many years of meticulous, painstaking research in our Unit and the NHS National Prion Clinic. Although further larger studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness, it’s the best hope yet of a successful early diagnostic test for the disease. This test could potentially go on to allow blood services to screen the population for vCJD infection, assess how many people in the UK are silent carriers and prevent onward transmission of the disease.”

Professor John Collinge, Director of the MRC Prion Unit, said:

“One of the reasons that vCJD is such a dreaded disease and has caused such disruption and expense to health services is the lack of knowledge of who is and who is not a carrier of this infection. The next step will be to test anonymously several thousand blood donors from a country unaffected by BSE in order to gain a better idea of how the test fares in practice. Longer term studies will also be needed to assess what proportion of individuals who test positive for prion infection will then go on to develop the disease later in life.

“The MRC Prion Unit’s research with the NHS National Prion Clinic to improve early diagnosis is an essential part of the wider MRC strategy to develop better treatments for patients. For this to develop, it will be crucial for clinicians to be able to offer treatment before extensive irreversible damage to the brain has occurred. At the moment, a firm diagnosis of vCJD can usually be made only once serious symptoms of the disease have developed which indicate extensive damage to the brain.”

The study ’A blood-based assay for the detection of vCJD prion infection’ is published today in the journal The Lancet.


Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with the researchers of this paper, please call the MRC Press Office on 0207 395 2345.

For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.

While the number of vCJD samples available for analysis was inherently small, and to date only a small number of healthy donors has been studied, analysis of this blinded panel indicated an assay sensitivity for vCJD of over 71% (15/21, CI 48-89%) and a specificity of 100% (0/169, CI 98-100%).

The NHNN forms part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS trusts in the United Kingdom providing first-class acute and specialist services. The Trust is committed to research and development and forms part of UCL Partners which in March 2009 was officially designated as one of the UK's first academic health science centres by the Department of Health. UCLH works closely with UCL, translating research into treatments for patients.

Annals of Neurology Volume 67, Issue 6, pages 761–770, June 2010

Validation of diagnostic criteria for variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease†

Craig A. Heath MD1,*, Sarah A. Cooper MD2, Katy Murray MD1, Andrea Lowman MB ChB (Hons), MRCP3, Colm Henry MB MRCPI MRCGP4, Margaret A. MacLeod MD, MRCP5, Gillian E. Stewart MB ChB1, Martin Zeidler FRCP6, Jan M. MacKenzie7, James W. Ironside FRCPath7, David M. Summers MD1, Richard S. G. Knight FRCP7, Robert G. Will FRCP7Article first published online: 27 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/ana.21987

Annals of Neurology Volume 69, Issue 1, page 212, January 2011

Letter to the Editor Comment on validation of diagnostic criteria for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Ana Lukic MRCP1,2, Simon Mead MRCP, PhD1,2,3, Peter Rudge FRCP1,2, John Collinge FRCP, PhD, FRS1,2,3

Article first published online: 28 JAN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/ana.22273

Copyright © 2010 American Neurological Association

There is no doubt that the development of diagnostic criteria has contributed greatly to epidemiological research in prion diseases, and Heath and colleagues1 emphasize this in surveillance studies of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). We caution, however, against a more broad application in clinical practice, particularly in governing decisions about clinical diagnosis, communication with patients/caregivers, and access to experimental therapies. The physician looking after a young patient with an unexplained rapidly progressive neuropsychiatric syndrome, dementia, or ataxia needs to make prompt clinical decisions. There are treatable alternative diagnoses, and an early firm diagnosis is essential. The pulvinar sign on magnetic resonance imaging is often not identified when patients are first imaged, and a requirement for a clinical duration of 6 months or greater makes a probable diagnosis impossible in the early stages of disease. Physicians who have cared for families affected by vCJD are aware of the complicated psychological issues generated by the perceived mismanagement of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy epidemic, which are often exacerbated by a delay or equivocation about diagnosis. Several families also choose experimental intracerebroventricular pentosan polysulfate therapy, which requires neurosurgery.

In the context of these issues, the role of tonsillar biopsy is underemphasized by Heath et al and the criteria. In our experience of 60 biopsies, by far the largest series worldwide, tonsillar biopsy has 100% sensitivity and specificity, at any stage of the disease. Prion protein deposition in the tonsil can be patchy, and at least 20 germinal centers need to be examined.2The number examined in 1 French case3 reported by Heath et al may not have been adequate to avoid a false-negative result. It is notable that of the 6 most recent patients suspected clinically of having vCJD in the United Kingdom, 3 did not meet epidemiological criteria for probable vCJD while alive. Two of these patients would have been misdiagnosed as sporadic CJD according to the updated clinical diagnostic criteria for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease4 criteria; typical vCJD was diagnosed at autopsy in both. In a third patient, with a heterozygous codon 129 genotype reported by Kaski et al,5 the pulvinar sign was not thought to be present by all neuroradiologists, and no tissue was examined. It is reasonable to expect that tonsillar biopsy may have made the correct diagnosis in each of these cases.

Given experience with transfusion-associated secondary vCJD, vCJD prions are likely to be present in significant titer in human blood, a diagnostic blood test based on detection of the infectious agent is clearly possible in principle, and if technologically achieved, will necessitate a complete revision of how we approach diagnosis in this disease.

Potential Conflicts of Interest Nothing to report.

References 1 Heath CA, Cooper SA, Murray K, etal. Validation of diagnostic criteria for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Ann Neurol 2010; 67: 761–770. PubMed,Web of Science® Times Cited: 3 2 Ironside JW, Hilton DA, Ghani A, etal. Retrospective study of prion-protein accumulation in tonsil and appendix tissues. Lancet 2000; 355: 1693–1694. CrossRef,PubMed,ChemPort,Web of Science® Times Cited: 65 3 Brandel JP, Heath CA, Head MW, etal. Variant CJD in France and the United Kingdom: evidence for the same agent strain. Ann Neurol 2009; 65: 249–256. Direct Link: AbstractFull Article (HTML)PDF(255K)References 4 Zerr I, Kallenberg K, Summers DM, et al. Updated clinical diagnostic criteria for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Brain 2009; 132: 2659–2668. CrossRef,PubMed,ChemPort,Web of Science® Times Cited: 15 5 Kaski D, Mead S, Hyare H, etal. Variant CJD in a PRNP codon 129 heterozygous individual. Lancet 2009; 374: 2128. CrossRef,PubMed,Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Generation of a new form of human PrPSc in vitro by inter-species transmission from cervids prions

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Atypical L-Type Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (L-BSE) Transmission to Cynomolgus Macaques, a Non-Human Primate

Jpn. J. Infect. Dis., 64 (1), 81-84, 2011

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Experimental Transmission of H-type Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy to Bovinized Transgenic Mice

Monday, November 22, 2010

Atypical transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in ruminants: a challenge for disease surveillance and control


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

EFSA and ECDC review scientific evidence on possible links between TSEs in animals and humans Webnachricht 19 Januar 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Agent strain variation in human prion disease: insights from a molecular and pathological review of the National Institutes of Health series of experimentally transmitted disease

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Nosocomial transmission of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: results from a risk-based assessment of surgical interventions Public release date: 8-Jul-2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Infection control of CJD, vCJD and other human prion diseases in healthcare and community settings part 4, Annex A1, Annex J, UPDATE DECEMBER 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

USA Blood products, collected from a donor who was at risk for vCJD, were distributed SEPTEMBER 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Emerging Infectious Diseases: CJD, BSE, SCRAPIE, CWD, PRION, TSE Evaluation to Implementation for Transfusion and Transplantation September 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Ironside JW., Haemophilia.

2010 Jul;16 Suppl 5:175-80 REVIEW ARTICLE

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting October 28 and 29, 2010 (COMMENT SUBMISSION)

----- Original Message -----

From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr.


Cc: ; Emery, Bryan (CBER)


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

BSE - ATYPICAL LESION DISTRIBUTION (RBSE 92-21367) statutory (obex only) diagnostic criteria CVL 1992


5 Includes 16 cases in which the diagnosis is pending, and 18 inconclusive cases;

6 Includes 21 (19 from 2010) cases with type determination pending in which the diagnosis of vCJD has been excluded.



Monday, August 9, 2010

National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center Cases Examined (July 31, 2010) Year Total Referrals2 Prion Disease Sporadic Familial Iatrogenic vCJD

1996 & earlier 51 33 28 5 0 0

1997 114 68 59 9 0 0

1998 88 52 44 7 1 0

1999 120 72 64 8 0 0

2000 146 103 89 14 0 0

2001 209 119 109 10 0 0

2002 248 149 125 22 2 0

2003 274 176 137 39 0 0

2004 325 186 164 21 0 1(3)

2005 344 194 157 36 1 0

2006 383 197 166 29 0 2(4)

2007 377 214 187 27 0 0

2008 394 231 204 25 0 0

2009 425 259 216 43 0 0

2010 204 124 85 20 0 0

TOTAL 3702(5) 2177(6) 1834 315 4 3

1 Listed based on the year of death or, if not available, on year of referral;

2 Cases with suspected prion disease for which brain tissue and/or blood (in familial cases) were submitted;

3 Disease acquired in the United Kingdom;

4 Disease was acquired in the United Kingdom in one case and in Saudi Arabia in the other case;

5 Includes 16 cases in which the diagnosis is pending, and 18 inconclusive cases;

6 Includes 21 (19 from 2010) cases with type determination pending in which the diagnosis of vCJD has been excluded.

Monday, August 9, 2010

National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center Cases Examined (July 31, 2010)

(please watch and listen to the video and the scientist speaking about atypical BSE and sporadic CJD and listen to Professor Aguzzi)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Infection control of CJD, vCJD and other human prion diseases in healthcare and community settings part 4, Annex A1, Annex J, UPDATE DECEMBER 2010

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Monitoring the occurrence of emerging forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the United States 2003 revisited 2009

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Human Prion Diseases in the United States January 1, 2010 ***FINAL***

my comments to PLosone here ;

14th ICID International Scientific Exchange Brochure -

Final Abstract Number: ISE.114

Session: International Scientific Exchange

Transmissible Spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) animal and human TSE in North America

update October 2009

T. Singeltary

Bacliff, TX, USA


An update on atypical BSE and other TSE in North America. Please remember, the typical U.K. c-BSE, the atypical l-BSE (BASE), and h-BSE have all been documented in North America, along with the typical scrapie's, and atypical Nor-98 Scrapie, and to date, 2 different strains of CWD, and also TME. All these TSE in different species have been rendered and fed to food producing animals for humans and animals in North America (TSE in cats and dogs ?), and that the trading of these TSEs via animals and products via the USA and Canada has been immense over the years, decades.


12 years independent research of available data


I propose that the current diagnostic criteria for human TSEs only enhances and helps the spreading of human TSE from the continued belief of the UKBSEnvCJD only theory in 2009. With all the science to date refuting it, to continue to validate this old myth, will only spread this TSE agent through a multitude of potential routes and sources i.e. consumption, medical i.e., surgical, blood, dental, endoscopy, optical, nutritional supplements, cosmetics etc.


I would like to submit a review of past CJD surveillance in the USA, and the urgent need to make all human TSE in the USA a reportable disease, in every state, of every age group, and to make this mandatory immediately without further delay. The ramifications of not doing so will only allow this agent to spread further in the medical, dental, surgical arena's. Restricting the reporting of CJD and or any human TSE is NOT scientific. Iatrogenic CJD knows NO age group, TSE knows no boundaries. I propose as with Aguzzi, Asante, Collinge, Caughey, Deslys, Dormont, Gibbs, Gajdusek, Ironside, Manuelidis, Marsh, et al and many more, that the world of TSE Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy is far from an exact science, but there is enough proven science to date that this myth should be put to rest once and for all, and that we move forward with a new classification for human and animal TSE that would properly identify the infected species, the source species, and then the route.

HOW many of you recieved a written CJD Questionnaire asking real questions pertaining to route and source (and there are many here in North America) ?

IS every case getting a cjd questionnaire asking real questions ???

Friday, November 30, 2007



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